As the party contemplates their descent into the hidden dungeon below the house, the possessions of Cabel and Nedda become prominent. Nedda’s personality seems to shift as she becomes irritated when the group won’t listen to what she’s telling them to do. She wants to go to the dungeon and quickly, but the party lingers, so Nedda becomes more and more upset. Cabel, on the other hand, becomes terrified of everything. As soon as he sees his own shadow due to a flickering lantern, he becomes terrified and tries to hide himself away in plain sight.
They make their way into the dungeon but a loud, ghostly chanting rings out around them. They can hear the chanting but they can’t quite make out the words of the chants. Everything sounds garbled as it’s too far off to distinguish. They begin carefully exploring small tunnels, using sources of light to help brighten the pitch dark dungeon.
They take a few turns and find themselves in several rooms with small areas branching off. Each of those areas contain beds and footlockers, none of which the party attempts to open. They continue to search through a few rooms when the party splits up. A swarm of centipedes attacks them. Cabel’s possession of Thorn causes him to run and hide in a room off to the side. Varis attempts to kite the swarm around, taking a few hits in the process, before setting fire to the swarm and ending the small encounter.
The party heads forward and enters into a mess hall environment. Varis walks too close to a small alcove in the wall and is ambushed by a Grick, a wormlike monstrosity that ferociously lashes out with its tentacles. Varis immediately retreats and kicks over one of the tables in the room as cover. The party throws spells, shoots crossbow bolts, and attempts to stab the Grick as the Grick viciously lashes out at the table trying to get to Varis. After a few minutes, the party is able to dispatch the Grick with ease.
They make their way back into the tunnels at the entrance of the dungeon and find several crypts. They eventually come across Rose and Thorn’s crypts, and as they carried the bones of the children with them from the attic, they finally lay them to rest. The moment the bones are put to rest within the crypts, the spirits depart the bodies of Cabel and Nedda, the souls of the children finally at peace. They explore a few more of the crypts before making their way south of the dining hall. They come across a large room with a shrine set against the wall. The shrine is a statue of a man wearing a flowing black cloak. A wolf stands next to him and he holds a crystal orb in one of his hands.
The party contemplates grabbing the orb, but after a small amount of discussion, decides against doing so. The chanting is louder in this room, so the party decides to investigate a door in the wall that leads toward the chanting. As soon as Varis touches the door leading into the room, it jumps to life, a mimic in disguise. It becomes adhered to Varis as the party is forced to fight it off while trying not to harm their ally. After a few hits, the mimic crumbles to the ground, its rotted wood splintering into hundreds of small pieces.
The party moves forward and finds a den with a few small tables and chairs. Next to the room is a bedroom with a large footlocker at the base of it. Varis goes to open the footlocker, and the moment he removes an item from it, a ghast, the spiritual form of Gustav Durst, the owner of the house, lunges forward and attacks Varis. Varis is knocked unconscious as the party rushes forward to help their friend. With a few well timed shots from Dollie’s crossbow, the ghast is defeated and Cabel heals Varis to save him from death. They plunder the rest of the footlocker finding healing potions, a wizard’s spellbook, a magical cloak, a few spell scrolls, and other miscellaneous items.
The party eventually backtracks and finds a staircase that leads even further down into the depths. Upon descending the stairs, they can hear the chants plain as day.
“He is the Ancient. He is the Land.”
The party moves forward and finds small prison cells. After some careful searching, they find a trap door that leads into the room with the chanting. They move into the room and find that it’s a large room with a huge dais in the middle. The entire room is supported by large pillars and looks like something straight out of an Aztec ritual process. As the characters make their way onto the dais in the middle of the room, 13 dark apparitions appear on some of the ledges that oversee the room. They all look like they’re wearing black robes and carrying torches.
“One Must Die! One Must Die! One Must Die!”
The figures begin chanting over and over. After a moment, the players realize what must happen.
Varis pulls out Koda knowing full well that he can bring Koda back through some simple spellcasting. It’s still a difficult moment as Varis and Koda are very close to each other. Varis pulls out a knife and kills Koda (I could be mistaken on this note as another such as Cabel might have done it, but I didn’t write down who specifically did it when taking notes for the session). The room goes silent…and then the chants begin again. The party now realizes that Koda, a familiar, was not enough for the sacrifice needed in the room.
Cabel and Dollie’s eyes are immediately drawn to the small puppy in Nedda’s pack which Nedda named Chester. Varis, inconsolable, drops to his knees in despair at the death of Koda. Nedda goes over to Varis and tries to help him in his time of need. During that moment, Cabel grabs Chester, and with Dollie in tow, puts Chester on the altar and kills the dog.
The chanting immediately stops as the house begins to shake violently. The players see the mists enter the room and begin overtaking them. They are all robbed of their senses as the mist seems to carry them off into the distance. A few moments pass by and the party wakes to find they are standing in the street where this whole adventure began. They turn to see the house has collapsed into a huge pile of debris and dirt.
Standing atop the debris is a figure, shadowed by the moonlight and adorned in black.
“Very good,” the figure says. As soon as his words finish, he transforms into a wolf and runs off into the night.
The party stands there in disbelief, wounded and despaired. What was that all about? The party got their first taste of Barovia…and it was poorly received.
The stats in the figures above represent the party’s current level/stats. The party’s level/stats were different during the session described above.